Christian Non-Fiction · Historical Fiction

Review: The Family of Jesus by Karen Kingsbury

If you have ever read the bible and tried to put yourself in Mary’s shoes – how she must have felt to have been chosen by God and then rejected and spurned by her community. To have given birth to the Light of the World only to see His life snuffed out by hatred. To grieve the loss of your child and then bear witness His glorious resurrection and ascension into heaven.

Have you ever pondered what it would have been like to be a sibling of the incarnate Christ? On one hand to be so close to His divine presence and on the receiving end of His affections while possibly being compared to Him. “Why can’t you be more like your big brother, Jesus?” Really Mom?!? The guy can do no wrong!

I know that I am not alone in my mental ramblings because these are some of the questions that Karen Kingsbury has addressed in her new book The Family of Jesus. It is the first installment in Kingsbury’s 4 part “Heart of the Story Collection” releasing over the next few summers. Written specifically with small group discussion in mind; I just knew I had to get my {book club coordinating} hands on this book.

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Synopsis:

America’s favorite inspirational novelist offers a fictional view of six of the family members of Jesus, all anchored by Scriptural truth, creating a life-changing and unprecedented emotional connection to the Bible.

Through The Family of Jesus, readers will develop an emotional connection to the family members of Jesus, learning about their lives and falling in love with Scripture along the way. Bible studies and devotionals abound, and in churches everywhere people gather to seek a deeper understanding of God’s word and its application to their lives. Too often these studies engage only the analytic approach to Bible learning.

In The Family of Jesus, #1 New York Times bestselling novelist Karen Kingsbury will make you laugh, cry, and ultimately care more deeply about the Bible by helping you grasp the truths in Scripture not just with your mind, but with your heart. The characters in these short stories were among those closest to Jesus—Mary, Joseph, Jesus’ brother James, John the Baptist, Zechariah, and Elizabeth. Each has a compelling tale to tell. Kingsbury intersperses fictional, emotionally gripping details anchored in Scripture with historical and theological insights and questions that will guide soul-searching and reflection.

My Review:

The bible is riddled with fallible people whom God uses to carry out His perfect plan. Kingsbury has acknowledged the humanity of Joseph, Zechariah, Elizabeth, James, and Mary – their hopes, fears, and struggles with faith. She does not draft the characters as super-humans but instead uses their strengths and weaknesses to serve as examples for our own lives. By doing so I feel that she has met her goal of creating emotional connections between her readers and the characters.

Karen Kingsbury has charted new territory by melding fictional storytelling with a bible study. The wisdom she has gained over the course of her writing career pours out into this beautiful and plausible storyline. She successfully intimates her readers with the family of Jesus. I enjoyed how each chapter gradually built on the last in a gentle crescendo that revealed the entire gospel of Christ. A person could choose to read The Family of Jesus as a collection of biblical fictions stories but they would miss half the blessing of the book. While Karen Kingsbury has established herself as a fiction writer, she definitely has a knack for composing a rewarding bible study.

The Family of Jesus is an excellent choice for book club and small group leaders looking to elicit group participation. Approximately 75% of the book is devoted to the novellas the remaining 25% is composed of study and discussion questions. The short stories focus the reader on a character and his or her struggles while the pointed questions encourage the reader’s spiritual growth and reflection. This book could be a wonderful tool to draw people closer together and deeper into the Word.

Worthy of 4 stars, The Family of Jesus will be available July 1st from Howard books. I believe Kingsbury’s next book in the “Heart of the Story Collection” will be greatly anticipated.

I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

About the Author:

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USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury is America’s #1 inspirational novelist. There are more than 15 million copies of her award-winning books in print, including several million copies sold in the past year. Karen has written more than 40 novels, ten of which have hit #1 on national lists.

Karen is best known for her Life-Changing Fiction (TM) and for creating unforgettable characters. When speaking before women’s groups – some with more than 10,000 in attendance – Karen makes audiences laugh and cry with her compelling story-telling. She likes to tell attendees they have, “One chance to write the story of their lives,” and her talk focuses on reminding women to live every day loving well, laughing often, and finding true life in Jesus Christ. Karen routinely speaks before more than 100,000 women each year.

Connect with Karen at KarenKingsbury.com, Facebook, and on twitter.

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